On March 26, the UNC Adams School of Dentistry hosted its first virtual shadowing event for approximately 189 predental students.
When many dental offices temporarily closed due to the pandemic last year, students lost opportunities to shadow dental providers in-person. Even as those offices have since reopened, many have not been able to accommodate shadowing as they have before.
As a result, students have struggled to find opportunities to shadow dental providers – a critical experience that often helps students determine if a career in dentistry is the right fit for them.
Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment and Engagement, Lamont Lowery, MA, spearheaded the virtual shadowing event. He hoped to create an educational space for predental students to gain experience without worrying about whether an office was open – among other challenges – due to the pandemic.
“Shadowing provides a glimpse of the profession for those that want to pursue it, said Lowery. “I felt a drive to create this unique opportunity at the beginning of the pandemic, when offices started closing and dental schools had to answer tough questions about prospective students and their shadowing opportunities.”
“While many schools were deciding whether to accept or not to accept virtual shadowing hours from their applicants, I saw the opportunity for us to do something great – to set the measure of what excellent virtual shadowing looks like. This is the first of many, as we hope to provide opportunities like this regularly for prospective students.”
The event was a resounding success. Participants followed along with general dentist Allessandra Lowery, DDS, while she performed a live procedure on a patient, and operative dentist Sumi Ahmed, BDS, MS, provided instruction and answered questions from the participants.
“I just wanted to state how appreciative I am that your institution is implementing this initiative,” said a participant. “This was an invaluable experience for me. I gain so much knowledge and insight that I would not have otherwise. Moreover, I enjoyed being talked through the procedure beforehand, during, and afterward.”
“I hope you all continue these events and allow for discussing following the procedure as time allows. Finally, I wanted to thank you all for this opportunity, I am looking forward to attending future events like this one.”